Apple Inc. Watch OS 2 is the wearable platform to watch this year. This week’s WWDC gave a preview of the new operating system of the Apple wrist gadget. Watch OS 2 is the Apple Watch’s first major software update. It overcomes the drawbacks of Watch OS, and according to TechRadar, makes Apple Watch worth buying.
The firmware gives developers tools to build more powerful and faster apps for Apple Inc.’s first wearable. Its innovative hardware features include a heart rate sensor, Digital Crown, Taptic Engine, microphone, and accelerometer, plus software APIs that now enable video playback, audio and animation to build app experiences.
Watch OS 2 also comes with new watch faces, as well as third-party app information. More native apps will be showing up, and users will not be limited to those which are ported over. Native apps give way to greater application capabilities and faster run time.
One of the major drawbacks of Apple Watch is its limited customization of the watch faces. Watch OS 2 enables customization of the watch with any photo, so that the wearer can view any picture on the watch face. Meanwhile, factory faces or the Time-Lapse watch faces are updated so that users can choose videos shot over 24 hours in iconic places like Shanghai and London.
Developers can already make upgrades with the ClockKit framework. With this, Apple Watch is expected to have new watch faces coming along with lots of widgets that show sports scores, flight timing, weather and other information.
Apple Inc. Watch OS 2 is the wearable platform to watch as it plans to make apps more robust with new tools. As examples, Insteon gives customers more control over lights and temperature with Digital Crown, WeChat includes audio messaging with mic, Vine can play video and Volkswagen owners get haptic feedback when the car doors are locked.
Time Travel lets users explore events from the past and the future with upcoming meetings and events, as well as temperature for the week or even flight information from third-party apps. Tetherless Wi-Fi enables Apple Inc.’s wrist gadget to connect to Wi-Fi networks without the need to wait for the iPhone to connect first. iPhone owners can leave their smartphones in another room as the watch is a perfect alternative.
In the field of communication, Watch OS 2 lets users quickly reply to mail with dictation, or use emoji in Smart Replies. Friends’ screens can be created in multiples, with up to 12 friends on each screen, while Digital Touch lets the owner draw and send multiple-colored sketches on a single canvas.
Detailed transportation schedules and maps come handy with Transit in Maps, all with walking directions to nearby entrances, exits and stations. With Nightstand Mode, Apple Inc.’s smartwatch becomes an alarm clock as Digital Crown and the side button transform into snooze and off buttons, respectively. Third-party fitness apps will contribute exercise goals while merchant rewards now apply when using Apple Pay.
An enhanced OS version means a smarter digital assistant. Siri can help in starting and ending workouts, launching Glances with “Hey Siri, show me the Instagram glance” and replying to emails. The artificial intelligent assistant will likewise be able to give the Apple Watch wearer transit directions, as well as control over HomeKit devices.
The Apple Watch cannot be used by thieves as it cannot be activated, courtesy of Activation Lock, with which users can secure their watch with their ID. The Activation Lock comes from Mac and iPhone.
Its beta version is available for developers, and Apple Inc. Watch OS 2 is the wearable platform to watch this fall, with a schedule similar to iOS 9. Watch OS 2 will work fine with iOS 8.2 or later. Just like other firmware updates from Apple Inc., the Apple Watch OS 2 program update will be free.
By Judith Aparri
Apple Press Info: Apple Previews New Apple Watch Software
PC Tablet: Apple OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, Apple Music, Watch OS 2 – WWDC 2015 announcements discussed in Detail
TechRadar: Apple Watch OS 2: what you need to know
Photo courtesy of Yasunobu Ikeda‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License